Hollywood, the music industry and romance novels are all built on the narrative of a passionate romance gone horribly wrong and the consequences of the messy break-up.
The best revenge, many slighted lovers presume, is to give the impression that "you never meant that much anyway" and "look how well I'm doing without you".
Zwelinzima Vavi and his allies in Cosatu did not attend the three-day alliance summit but those who did were quite determined to show how well things went without the rabble-rousers.
There was a big show of unity between the ANC, SACP and Cosatu at the end but all the issues of contention were kicked into a yet-to-be-determined future. And so alliance's, and South Africa's, economic policy remains a veritable dog's breakfast - until further notice.
It was quite remarkable how delegates from the ANC, Cosatu and the SACP drifting in and out of the alliance summit hall on Sunday expressed similar impressions about meeting.
It had gone better than expected, there is a meeting of minds and general appreciation of each other's views, and there was now a positive atmosphere in the alliance. Of course they were all drinking from the same Kool-Aid...